Swingaway Heat Press
Dalco Athletic, Dallas; (972) 494-1455;
Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.
What it is: The DK20S is a 16" by 20" digital swing-away heat-transfer press that has interchangeable lower tables with a variety of optional platens.
- Digital temperature and time controls
- PSI pressure control gauge
- Heavy-duty solid-steel welded framework capable of up to 2,200 lbs. of pressure
- Oversized LCD display shows temperature and time simultaneously
- Heat platen pressure adjusts to accommodate material thicknesses past 1" in height
- Number of North American-based customers: 62 (sold by Dalco as a distributor).
Buyer's note: The DK20S is a good choice for shops that print a wide range of products, including apparel, plaques and tiles, using plastisol, digital and sublimated heat transfers; embroidery appliqué; and rhinestones.
User review: Reza Karimi, owner/manager of Soccer City in Frisco, TX, bought his first DK20S from Dalco Athletic in 2006, and a second in 2010. "We have seven employees and most are trained on this press," Karimi says. "I can honestly say there was little to no learning curve. It was very simple to learn, once we figured out how best to use pressure. Dalco Athletic has been very good to work with for the past eight years."
Maxi·Press Air-Op Automatic Large-Format Press
George Knight & Co. Inc.,
Brockton, MA; (800) 525-6766;
Cost: Contact vendor for pricing.
What it is: This large-format heat press is available in 32" by 42" and 44" by 64" sizes.
- Available with optional bottom heat, allowing for double-sided printing of finished garments
- Decorators can now print bulky, finished garments on both sides simultaneously for a full-bleed, full-color sublimated result.
User review: Tim Lynn, vice president of Condé Systems in Mobile, AL, leads a team that does wholesale sublimation printing for large-format applications, such as panels and welcome mats. He has worked with George Knight since 1992, when his company was first established. "They're great to work with," Lynn says. "They're responsive. Whether you email or call them with a question, they respond the same day." Lynn's team invested in a second press from George Knight last year, after using their previous press for seven years. "To produce the size prints we do," he says, "you have to have this kind of machine."
Hotronix Dual Air Fusion
Hotronix, Carmichaels, PA;
What it is: The Hotronix Dual Air Fusion is a heat press that shuttles between two platen workstations. Each station can be configured with a unique application time and pressure, allowing for high production of the same item or two different items simultaneously.
- Fully threadable lower platen allows a garment to be decorated on front, back or side without removing it from platen
- Auto-adjust pressure automatically adjusts to thickness of item being printed
- Dual platens allow for a heat-free workspace on one platen while the other is being pressed.
- Laser alignment system
- Full-auto, semi-auto and manual modes
- Touchscreen stores frequently used settings, production cycle counter and auto on/off capability.
Buyer's note: The Dual Air Fusion is intended for medium to high-volume decorators looking for a press that will help increase productivity, and for shops using a heat press to cure digitally printed apparel. You can program one station for pretreatment and the other for curing.
Heat-Seal Machine Model 201
Insta Graphic Systems (asi/704730),
Cerritos, CA; (800) 421-6971;
Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.
What it is: The Model 201 is a swing-away, 13" by 13" platen heat press that's user-friendly for the home, craft and hobby industries.
- Dual pressure systems
- Prints thick materials such as plaques and books, and thin substrates for apparel
- Prints on sublimatable products with no ghosting
- Tapered edges of upper platen reduce impression marks.
- Integrated digital controller for time, temperature and auto-off
- Heavy-duty distribution of pressure and even heat across the platen
- Swing-away with unobstructed view of entire platen
- Cast-in tubular heating element
- All agency certifications.
Buyer's note: This machine is ideal for schools, churches, embroiderers, hobby/craft, the color-copy industry, and the sublimation-trophy and awards business. It's also designed as an entry-level machine.
Insta Graphic Systems (asi/704730), Cerritos,
CA; (800) 421-6971;
What it is: The Model 228 features a 15" by 20" swing-away upper platen, giving a user complete access to the lower platen while loading garments and placing transfers.
- Interchangeable lower platens: Simple pin system allows user to easily change out lower platen and drop in smaller accessory platens for printing on pockets, sleeves, pant legs, yokes and more
- Sleep mode and auto off: Energy-saving feature allows machine to go into sleep mode after specified time has elapsed or automatically shut off after two hours of non-use.
- Cast metal construction
- Pressure source strategically placed over the center of its upper platen; uses struts to drive pressure out to all orners for even, heavy-duty distribution of pressure
- Tubular heating element cast into aluminum upper platen, heating metal from within, and coiled throughout the upper platen to provide even heat circulation
- Digital controller for regulating time and temperature
- Sliding pressure scale for adjusting pressure settings
- Lower cut-away base for ease of loading and unloading
- UL-, CuL- and CE-approved; RoHS/WEEE-compliant
- Lifetime warranty on upper heating element.
Hotronix Air Fusion
Transfer Express (asi/91804), Mentor,
OH; (800) 622-2280;
Cost: $3,800 for machine on pedestal; $3,650 on tabletop stand
What it is: The Hotronix Air Fusion is an auto-open, auto swing-away heat press with touchscreen controls. Powered by an air compressor, it's designed to increase production and reduce operator fatigue.
- Fully threadable lower platen allows a garment to be decorated on the front, back or side without removing it from the platen
- Patented auto-adjust pressure has up to four programmable pressure and time settings, allowing user to select appropriate application for each garment
- Optional Heat Press Caddie Shelves attach to pedestal and allow operator to keep heat-transfer products and blanks within reach during application.
- Exclusive auto-open, swing-away upper platen provides a heat-free workspace and user-safe two-hand operation.
- Programmable settings for multi-step applications, preset programs, energy-saving sleep mode and a production cycle counter
- Ergonomic height adjustability for multiple operators.
Buyer's note: The Air Fusion is intended for medium- to high-volume decorators looking for a press that will help increase productivity.
The Wild Side, San Fernando, CA; (800) 421-3130;
Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.
What it is: The 16" by 20" Hotronix Fusion is the only heat press in the industry with a patented dual-function capability, The Wild Side says. It operates as a swing-away or with a draw motion that fits how operators use it.
- Touchscreen technology allows a user to program an unlimited number of frequently used application
- Twin timer allows users to preset individual time settings for two-step application or for preheating and application.
- Production cycle counter
- Auto on/off settings
- Eight optional language settings
- Optional quick-change platens, requiring no tools.
Buyer's note: The Fusion is intended for low- to medium-volume decorators looking for a press that will help increase productivity and reduce operator error.
Go back to The Machine Guide